Harold Camping may not have been accurate in his doomsday prediction for Saturday, but for the people in Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, it probably felt like the Apocalypse. And for 116 people found dead so far, it was their last weekend.
As we watched the news last night, Joplin looked more like a bombed out war zone than a place suffering from tornado damage. Fires had erupted, the high school and hospital were destroyed. A rescue worker hoisted an American flag atop a hill of rubble, reminiscent of the famous World War II photo.
Brian Williams described the hit as several funnels forming off one anvil shaped storm. Hidden by a wall of rain, the approaching tornado was able to sneak up on Joplin, only giving the residents about a five minute warning. It was estimated that debris was sucked up inside of the powerful twister for eighteen thousand feet and x-rays and medical records were found over sixty miles away.
This storm chewed up a 3/4 mile path through the entire town, leveling homes, buildings and businesses and stripping trees of not only their limbs but even their bark.
A woman’s last words -‘ Oh God’ – were posted on her facebook page right before she and her husband succumbed to the storm. A man was found by texting a friend his location and the words – ‘I’m alive’. We are taking social media to a new level.
Severe storms are still being predicted for the area surrounding Joplin. Hail, wind, rain are being forecasted making the job of rescue workers even more demanding.
With the recent onslaught of terrible weather related events, news outlets are reporting that their travel budgets are already shot for the year. And the season is just beginning.
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